News, Views and People from the Russell Ulyatt Group

So, it’s a hung Parliament …
June 2017

Post election update

As dawn broke following the General Election, the morning light revealed yet another political gamble that had not paid off for the dice roller.  The UK has a hung Parliament, with no party holding an absolute majority.  Such is the unpredictability of a parliamentary democracy.  If you ask the people of the UK what they think, be prepared for the answers that you might receive!

The last few weeks has highlighted the divide in opinion in the country of the role and size of the state in our lives, with further austerity and a shrinking state on the one hand, and a material rise in spending (and taxation for some) on the other.  Each of us has our own feel for what we believe to be best for ourselves and the country, which we were able to express at the ballot box on 8th June.  We also remain, as a nation, somewhat divided on the Brexit issue, although perhaps mostly united in the reality that it is going to go ahead, in one form or another, respecting the will of the (slim) majority.

More importantly, the last few weeks has united us as a nation in grief and utter condemnation of the barbarous terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, and a deep sense of resolve that the values that we collectively hold as a nation are immutable: decency, respect, tolerance and democracy.  The Election result illustrated what this truly means; Members of Parliament losing their seats, magnanimously shaking hands with their victors and accepting the right of the people to have their say.  The election is another stark reminder to those who assault our values that they will never win.

Certainly, it is an awkward time for such political turmoil, with the start of the Brexit negotiations just days away.  We will leave the ramifications of this result and the speculation of what we might expect next to others.  We don’t want to add to the noise or a further sense of election analysis fatigue.

Strong and stable portfolios (if not government)

What we do want to do is to reassure you that your portfolio is well positioned to weather any storms both now and in the future.  It is worth remembering the following:

  • Your portfolio is highly diversified through the thousands of equities and bonds that it holds and the countries that it is invested in.
  • Your non-UK equities are unhedged, which means that you hold this portion of your portfolio in non-GBP currencies.  In the event of a fall in the value of Sterling (GBP), as we have initially seen, these overseas assets will be worth more in Sterling terms.
  • Your  bond holdings – which are hedged – are diversified across global markets, reducing the impact of any rise in the cost of borrowing that might occur on account of the greater uncertainty that the UK faces at this time.
  • While markets don’t like uncertainty, the UK is a small player in the global pond and the General Election result is just a ripple.
  • Portfolios go up and down; they always have and they always will.  If you don’t need to spend the money today, don’t worry about what happens in the coming days, weeks and months.

Although the Election result may feel uncomfortable for some, let’s keep it in proportion.  We live in a tolerant, open society – and by the look of the greater level of engagement in the election by the younger generation – a great democracy that cares passionately about its future.  Put the kettle on, have a nice cup of tea and celebrate this next – if unpredicted and a little uncertain – step for our nation.

If you would like to speak with us about this or any other matter, please feel free to get in touch.

Other notes and risk warnings

  •  This article is for general information only, and is not intended to be advice to any specific person.  No reader should take any action based on the content of the publication without first obtaining personal advice from us or their own financial advisers.
  • The value of investments and any income taken from them can go down as well as up. Exchange rates may cause the value of underlying investments to fall as well as rise.  You may not get back the value of your original investment.
  • Past performance is not indicative of future results and no representation is made that any stated results will be replicated.
  • Any reference to taxation is based on our understanding of the current position, which may change in the future.
  • The actual taxation may be affected by individual circumstances.
  • The FCA does not regulate tax advice, so it is outside the investment protection rules of the Financial Services and Markets Act and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.  The newsletter represents our understanding of law and HM Revenue & Customs practice.  All rights reserved.

WannaCry malware
May 2017

Following the significant global malware attack by WannaCry, we wanted to confirm that our systems have not been impacted.

We constantly work to maintain a high level of security on our network and will continue to closely monitor the situation.

Tax Tables 2017/18
March 2017

Click here to view our tax tables for the 2017/18 tax year, updated with announcements made in the Budget.  We hope you will find them useful and interesting.

Please get in touch if you would like a discussion with us about your tax or general financial situation

Spring Budget 2017
March 2017

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, delivered his first Budget against a backdrop of a more-buoyant-than-expected UK economy post-Brexit and improved tax receipts.  Set against these were concerns about funding the NHS and social care, and the impact on business from changes to business rates.

Please click here to view our Budget Summary.

Here are some of the key tax and related announcements in the Budget:

  • Self-employed workers will see their Class 4 national insurance contributions (NICs) increase by 1% to 10% in April 2018, with a further percentage point rise to 11% from April 2019.  The government had previously announced that Class 2 NICs will be abolished from April 2018.
  • The tax-free dividend allowance will be reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 from April 2018.
  • The individual savings account (ISA) allowance will rise to £20,000 in April 2017 as previously announced.
  • The new NS&I investment bond available for 12 months from April 2017 will pay 2.2% over a three-year term on deposits of up to £3,000.
  • As already announced, the personal allowance will rise to £11,500 in April 2017 and to £12,500 by 2020 and the higher rate income threshold will rise to £45,000.  Special rules will apply in Scotland.  Click here to view our 2017/18 Tax Tables.
  • The Chancellor confirmed that corporation tax will be cut to a rate of 19% from April 2017 and that the rate will be further reduced to 17% in 2020.  Businesses losing their Small Business Rate Relief will benefit from a cap on increases in their rates bill.
  • The government will introduce a 25% charge on transfers to qualifying recognised overseas pension schemes or QROPS.  There will be exemptions from the charge for people with a genuine need to transfer their pensions overseas.

The Chancellor’s Budget speech contained many references to ‘fairness’.  The decision to raise NICs for the self-employed was widely trailed but the cut in the dividend allowance came as a surprise.

Please get in touch with is if you would like to discuss how any announcements in the Budget might affect you.

 

 

Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management agree merger
March 2017

Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management have agreed terms for an all-share merger which will create one of the UK’s largest fund managers overseeing assets worth £660 bn.

The proposed merger is expected to take place in Q3 2017. Subject to a number of conditions and regulatory approval, the merger will combine the complementary strengths of Standard Life and Aberdeen to create a world-class investment group.

Keith Skeoch, Chief Executive Office at Standard Life believes the merger will: –

  • Harness Aberdeen and Standard Life’s complementary, market leading investment and savings capabilities.
  • Establish one of the largest and most sophisticated investment solutions offerings globally, enabling the Combined Group to better meet your evolving needs.
  • Create an investment group with strong brands, leading institutional and wholesale distribution franchises, market leading platforms, giving you access to a greater choice of investment capabilities.
  • Bring scale, as one of the largest active investment managers globally with £660 billion of proforma assets under administration and financial strength, transforming the Combined Group’s ability to invest for growth, innovate and drive greater operational efficiency.

Our relationship and that of our clients with Standard Life is mainly as a provider of a wrap (technology) platform, administration services and products rather than investment funds.  However it is good to see them prosper as a business and their considerable and growing financial scale continues to give us confidence.

We will continue to keep you updated on the proposed merger and, as always, please do get in touch with us if you would like to discuss the merger.

 

Russell Ulyatt Achieves Chartered Success
January 2017

Russell Ulyatt Financial Services ended the year on a high by achieving Chartered status from the premier professional body for the insurance and financial planning professions.

We are incredibly proud to have been awarded the landmark “Chartered Financial Planners” title by the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) following rigorous scrutiny of our professional practise in our business dealings.

All Chartered Financial Planners are required to demonstrate their commitment to the CII’s Code of Ethics, reinforcing the highest standards by ensuring that its employees are competent, knowledgeable and ethical in their work.  With our commitment to facilitating the ongoing professional development of our staff team, we’re delighted to receive this external validation in recognition of our business practises.

Ian Browne

As Ian Browne, Head of Advice, explains “Achieving this status is a significant milestone for the company and demonstrates the expertise, knowledge and professionalism of our staff.  Often, ‘Chartered’ status is awarded to individuals or smaller companies as it is based on the percentage of senior staff who meet the criteria.  The larger the company, the harder it is to gain Chartered status.  I am therefore delighted that we have achieved this highly prestigious endorsement from the CII and that the integrity and capability of our staff has been recognised.  It’s a great way to end the year!”

To date, fewer than 750 firms have achieved Chartered status illustrating that this is a highly exclusive award reserved for leading firms within the financial advice market.